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At some point or other, we’ve all thrown our hands up in disbelief and cried, “What’s happening to this country?!” or “The world’s gone mad.” A lot of British people have just given up trying to follow what’s happening to Britain anymore. People can barely keep track of where we were as a country last month, let alone 2 years ago; how on earth we ended up with this law or that reform; why every few weeks or so, we wake up in a different society governed by different rules. Over the last 5 years, change has happened to Britain fast; in dramatic leaps, and over a very short space of time. There has been nothing gradual about the last 5 years and frankly, it’s been exhausting to watch. It’s no wonder the British have become numb to politics.

The problem is this. Being disinterested in politics doesn’t make you stupid. Being disinterested in politics does make you underinformed and ill-equipped for disaster. Ask any British person what’s happening to their country and the simple response from your average joe is, “Everything’s changed so quickly.” Ask where Britain is going and you’ll get either a roll of the eyes, a resigned sigh or a shrug. The apathy has set in deeply and many are immovable from it.

There are just 10 days to go til the next UK General Election. A lot of people are sick to the back teeth with party political propaganda all over the TV and can’t wait til it’s all over. And so for some, my enthusiasm for voting is over the top. They couldn’t be more wrong. If ever Britain needed a hardcore election it’s now.

There have been two televised debates between Brown (Labour), Cameron (Tory) and Clegg (Lib Dem) covering domestic policy and international affairs; the last will be on economy and taxes. This is something we’ve never done before and taking prime advantage of the public’s political apathy, are the tabloids. The media are delirious with opportunity as the work comes easy; sensationalist headlines, spoof campaigns, repetitive soundbites and salacious stories of corruption pour out, emotionally whipping people up into a sudden frenzy of divisive opinion. The clock is ticking and thus far, opinion polls have fluctuated erratically across Britain like a rollercoaster. While the media have everything to gain from swaying the public, once the election is over, the media will be onto their next catch while the public are lumped with the consequences of a bad choice. So how does a tired, languid and fed-up Britain know what the right choice really is?

The truth is that this comes down to the lesser of three evils.

As current PM, Gordon Brown represents the vote to increase ‘free’ handouts for the ‘unfortunate’ public, ‘free’ benefits to keep people smiling and happy (even though everyone knows there’s no such thing as a completely ‘free’ benefit), with a general greater reliance on widespread government control over everything. Essentially speaking, Brown’s manifesto will keep Britain as a slave to tax increases (which, by the way, is how Labour pays for all your ‘freedom’ passes and ‘free’ this and that). His idea is to reinforce a nanny state which is completely dependent on the government for absolutely everything. (That’ll work for the politically lazy who can’t be bothered with reading the small print, “so long as Big Brother doesn’t do anything nasty” like, deny the public a right to fight a reform before it becomes a law–which, of course, Big Brother will.) Lest we forget–Brown never actually wanted the role of PM when he was forced into the position by default of Blair’s resignation in 2007. In following his Labour advisors, he frankly hasn’t the foggiest idea of why he’s made the promises he has, nor how on earth he will execute them, financially nor strategically. Despite appearances and his talk of us hoping in the ‘experienced party’, Brown knows deep down how his last 3 years of service has reviled many. His plea for the public to vote Labour smacks of, “I know I screwed up, I’m sorry, I promise I won’t do it again.” Anyone with a rebellious child knows there’s only so many times you can believe that line as gospel.

Despite appearing to be the ‘refreshingly different’ speaker of the three, Nick Clegg is the opportunist of the traditional ‘conflict’ between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. His appeal is less of a strategic one and more of an emotional one, whispering to the listener, “You don’t have to watch these two fight it out for another age–pick me. I’m someone else altogether and after all, isn’t it “different” that you’ve been looking for all along?” Clegg’s approach is an unveiled, intentional play on the public’s distrust in previous Tory/Labour governments; an assistant to the aforementioned media circus. If you’ve been won over by his Mr. Straight Talker speeches, read the Liberal Democrat manifesto first. For the first plan of his inexperienced party, Clegg wants to “fix” the problem of Britain’s 900,000 illegal immigrants by ‘forgiving’ them for breaking the law with an amnesty to “stay in the country, work without being a criminal and we’ll reward you with citizenship.” What’s terribly wrong with that? Oh, only the consequences. Only a nice and easy, brand spanking new loophole for the next wave of illegal immigrants to make a fresh attempt on Britain’s borders. And apparently our citizenship is no sacred thing to Clegg, since he wants to give it away to any old Tom for practically nothing. If “Politically Correct Britain” is driving you up the wall, Clegg isn’t your man for that either: the Liberal Democrats’ central goal of making Britain more EU-centric will further weaken our economy, our say in what Brussels can lord over us and their ‘environmentally friendly’ banner smacks of more restrictive rules about good old carbon emissions and crying over polar bears, that have left us the laughing stock of the world driving revolting electric cars.

The Conservative Party are no angels either. The Thatcher years have such a bad reputation in Britain; a synonym for ideological betrayal. Cameron’s identification with Thatcher’s views have made him a target for criticism, largely because of Thatcher’s allegiance with liberalism in the face of traditional Tory politics. The current Conservative Party were involved in the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal of 2009 which damaged their appeal as a ‘clean politics’ party. Cameron has echoed Obama’s winning formula with the headline “Vote For Change”, producing further skepticism from traditional Tory supporters who take issue with what that represents, given the consequences America is facing having voted for a liberal president under such a slogan. In a modern multi-cultural Britain where the idea of social class has become more and more fragmented, the current public have less of an affinity with the traditional British class structure, which have been a fundamental skeleton to previous Tory politics. Cameron’s manifesto is Eurosceptic which could easily cause internal conflict through Britain’s membership in the EU and the huge number of Europeans living in Britain. Cameron has not guaranteed that taxes will be lowered which the public views as a grey area.

What the British public need to realise over the next 10 days is that the direction Britain has been going in has not been working up until now. This popularity contest will get us nowhere: we need facts and facts can only be found in party manifestos. Comparing manifestos only, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are only walking us in that direction faster; under the guise that this direction is the only way, any other way is “backwards” and your only choice is simply who you want to walk with. This is completely untrue and a giant deception. With this to mind, the Conservative Party are the lesser of the three evils. Currently this is the only party which has a focus on managing the country’s current problems whilst minimizing the side effects that could create future problems. Having a cap on immigration is one such policy. The consequences of this reform are minimal compared with Clegg and Brown’s solutions which would quickly compound the problem. Exacting a punishable consequence for residents and citizens who are able to work but don’t want to is another. This hardline on benefits will inject vigour into a reluctant nation that’s been used to getting freebies for over a decade; a far cry from the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ attitude Labour and the Lib Dems exude. Cameron’s idea of putting 16-yr old British boys back into mandatory National Service is a champion idea; it’s a hard line but a vision with a long term benefit. Whether or not Cameron will deliver on his promises, only time will tell. But any fool will tell you that when a country loses it’s identity and roots, it loses it’s way. Let’s hope The Conservative Party’s promise to bring our identity back is worth voting for.

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As a half Thai, half Arab British woman born and raised in London, England, it was of course, a point of great interest when I heard that Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (aka Racist Party) would be appearing on Question Time. Swallowing past the amazement that a party with such an outrageous manifesto was being considered for prime time television, I found myself questioning what possible benefits could come from such a stratagem. The aforementioned BBC political debate programme happens to be one of the more respected political television programmes broadcast to the British people, which explained Griffin’s choice of platform. However the furore which followed the show was not so much a consequence of the stammering excuses uttered by Britain’s most hated politician, but the fact that the BBC advocated having Griffin on air at all. The British public voiced their disgust and outrage in their droves, even as far as to stage a 500-strong physical protest outside the BBC Television Centre in White City. I happen to be one of many who disagree with the BNP’s constitution which asserts that “immigrants and their descendants should return home”, in an effort to “reverse the tide of non-white immigration”. I oppose the support of the seats they have won in Parliament through garnering support from racially segregated towns and cities within rural and suburban Britain. However the question of the moment asks people of all race and colour: should the BBC have allowed Nick Griffin on Question Time in this day and age?

The word on everyone’s lips is of course, the BBC’s gain, of which no secret has been made: ratings. The viewing public was simply a pawn in the entire charade to win the BBC ratings in the interest of profit. The BBC, set up in 1927 and currently run by the UK Government, has for it’s motto “Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation.” There is no greater irony than the juxtaposition of this motto with the content aired during the Nick Griffin programme. What never fails to surprise me, is the way in which the British public staunchly stand beside the BBC as the “final word” on all news broadcasts British. It pains me to say it, but it is often eerily like watching a collective under Stockholm Syndrome. To wholeheartedly trust in a broadcasting corporation which treats the morality of it’s motto like a headstone on a grave is, to put it mildly, a little blind-sighted. Time and time again, the BBC have been proven to have broadcast overtly biased, one-sided information in their news bulletins, documentaries and programmes. This is not in itself a complete criticism of the BBC; there truly are people out there who choose to consume biased media, see no fault in it and are quite thoroughly happy going to the grave having done so all their lives. But there exists a collective of people who are unresolved in their overall opinion of the way in which the BBC broadcasts it’s media. A good example of this as a consequence, was the selective information the BBC fed to the British public regarding the recent US presidential campaigns of 2008. In the advent of seeking out news on the internet, British people started hearing different versions of this news which were not being fed through the BBC 6 ‘O Clock bulletin. The awakening was like watching people return to a conscientiousness they’d lost after student-hood. Aunty Beeb, it seemed, had forgotten to stock up the jar of sweets. It seemed like it wasn’t just their patchy, inconsistent Middle Eastern coverage that was garnering attention.

The Nick Griffin-Question Time scandal came about because this was an uninhibited BBC orchestration. The entire thing was choreographed for both parties’ benefit. As a condemnation of the BNP, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quoted as having said, “Londoners and the rest of the British people know that backing the BNP is totally at odds with what it really means to be British – and the great British values the rest of us share, such as democracy and decency, freedom and fairness, tolerance and equality.” Perhaps so. But the great trouble with democracy is it’s two pivotal principles, equality and freedom. Although widely considered so, technically speaking, Britain has never been a two-party state and celebrates this by encouraging multi-party support from the people. Suffice it to say, by default the BNP and their shocking manifesto have a right to speech, despite the fight for racial integration in a modern society. The real question is not whether or not, it is what and when.

So what is the answer? Power in numbers. Democracy is defined in Greek as “power of the people”. This is now, more than ever, a call to the Britons who have never voted, to vote. There are many who say of themselves and others, “What is the point of speaking when effectively, we have no voice when it comes to these kinds of things?” May I both politely and rudely remind those people that, yes, you do have a voice, your vote is your voice. At no point should giving up be an option, because we all know that bad things do not stay the same: they progressively worsen. Don’t leave politics to the young and impassioned, as Lord Kitchener would say today: “Your country wants YOU.”